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NEW YORK - A county commissioner in San Antonio, Texas, on Thursday criticized Albertson's Inc. for closing three of its San Antonio stores on the South Side of town, calling the decision a "planned attack" on the community.
The closings, officially scheduled for Dec. 6, are part of Albertson's decision to shut down 165 of its under-performing stores across the country, which the company announced last August.
Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, whose district encompasses part of San Antonio's primarily Hispanic South Side, charged Albertson's with anti-Southside prejudice. "This is a disservice to the employees, South Side residents, and to the community," he said.
Miguel Gutierrez, company spokesman for Albertson's, told Progressive Grocer that the closures are purely a business decision of non-profitability. "We did not close the stores because of what side of town they're on. Basically it had to do with the stores not making a profit. We are extremely committed to the Hispanic community, and we're extremely proud of those communities. We strive on a daily basis to continue our relationship not only with the community, but with Hispanic leaders," he said.
Gutierrez said the company has spoken with City Council members, the mayor, both the director and president of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the president of the South Side Chamber of Commerce about the closures.
"Our number one priority is our associates and placing as many as we can in positions in surrounding areas," he says. "We are extremely committed to the communities we serve, and we are going to do everything we can to speak with local elected officials and community leaders. We feel we are excellent corporate partners."
Albertson's will continue to operate its 19 other stores in the San Antonio area.
Gutierrez is scheduled to meet possibly next week with Commissioner Adkisson and Texas Senator Frank Madla, along with other community leaders, to further discuss the company's plans